by strangulation is a chilling reminder of how fragile life is when
you’re in the grips of an abusive partner. Strangulation as a mode of
assault is always terrifying for the victim and can be fatal.
is a precursor to homicide, and strangulation victims are 750 times
more likely to be killed than victims who have never been strangled,
according to research.
the tragic death of Gabby Petito has put the spotlight on
strangulation. And while her case has opened a national conversation
about partner abuse, over the past two years there has been a marked
increase in domestic violence assaults with victims being isolated in
their homes because of COVID-19. It takes five seconds to render someone
unconscious, and death can occur within minutes. If you’ve been
strangled by your intimate partner, they will likely kill you. Today,
strangulation cases are being charged at the felony level because of the
risk of death during the assault.
journalists correctly utilize the term ‘strangulation,’ they increase
the public’s familiarity with a specific form of abuse and acknowledge
the severe short and long term consequences of this type of violence,”
according to The Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and
Domestic Violence as reported by USA Today.
that seek to deprive someone of oxygen are more common than most people
realize, experts say. A woman who has been assaulted in such a way by a
partner has a sevenfold risk of being murdered by that partner, Eve
Valera, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, told USA
one of the most frightening experiences that women tend to report in
intimate partner violence. It’s really about power and control, and it’s
making a statement, ‘I can take your life at any moment,’” said Valera,
who studies intimate partner violence.
nonfatal cases, evidence of strangulation isn’t always visible. Experts
say strangulation can even lead to death without leaving any external
marks on the body. That’s why greater education and awareness is needed.
the coronavirus pandemic, intimate partner violence — and its severity —
has “skyrocketed,” Valera said. That means instances of women being
strangled by their partners have certainly gone up. Galveston County
domestic assaults, too, have increased, and judges continue to respond
proactively to the increase by enforcing existing laws and ordering no
contact bond conditions and other protective measures.
Linda Telfah is the chief victim assistance coordinator for the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office.
Galveston County Criminal District Attorney’s Office remains committed
to serving victims of intimate partner violence and all victims of
crime. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and if you or
someone you know is a victim of physical abuse, please contact the
victim’s unit at 409-770-5124 for protective order assistance and